bere architects and Richard Whidborne crush a code 3 house in their lecture titled 'What does Passivhaus cost?’ at the UK Passivhaus conference

What does Passivhaus cost

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This serious subject became the talking point of the conference after the delivery of a thoroughly entertaining talk that ended up with a pythonesque crushing of a Code 3 house by a gigantic foot that came down from the roof of the auditorium.

The talk consisted of an interesting dialog between our quantity surveyor Richard Whidborne and our senior Part 3 architectural assistant, Nick Newman. The serious side of the message was a stage by stage comparison through the whole building process of the cost differences between a Code 3 building regulation house with a Passivhaus (based on our Lime house in Ebbw Vale). The outcome cost difference was £13,000, or 15%. However the Passivhaus used 8 times less energy, offered optimised comfort conditions for its occupants, and was designed with a fully breathable construction build up.

Dr Berthold Kaufmann of the Passivhaus Insitute referred to the lecture in his summing-up talk, explaining that if there is a cost difference £13,000 typically in the UK, this will be paid back within a 20 year time period with a small cost of £3 per day with, at the same time, an energy cost saving of living in a Passivhaus of around £2.50 per day. This shows that the additional investment required over 20 years to buy a passivhaus is 50p per day!

Further information on the Lime House and Larch House can be found here: 


A number of other talks were presented on the work of bere:architects by members of the practice and by university professors or students. These talks included a study of reduced whole life costs in various price scenarios; a lecture on our Passivhaus Mayville Community Centre; aiming for Passivhaus / Enerpit standard in an occupied building; building performance analysis of our Mayville Community Centre; building performance of our Camden passivhaus; building performance of our low cost Welsh Passivhaus Homes; and visits to our Mayville Community Centre and our Passfield Drive retrofits.

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Richard, Nick, I enjoyed the talk very much; would just like to add that your traditional, Richard, would most likely be unmarketable after 2016, if it hadn’t been crashed by this ugly foot, while Nick’s asset value will follow "production cost plus inflation minus very little depreciation" very closely. caw